Densho Digital Archive
Oregon Nikkei Endowment Collection
Title: Yoneko Hara Interview
Narrator: Yoneko Hara
Interviewer: Margaret Barton Ross
Location: Portland, Oregon
Date: July 18, 2003
Densho ID: denshovh-hyoneko-01-0012

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MR: So back to camp, so you took your suitcases, which were so kindly...

YH: Donated to us. And then we got in there and we got a number. I just saw it the other day, 16234, family number. And there's seven of us now, and they put us in this one big room, I mean, big considering some of the others. And so here we are used to all having separate rooms in a way, and we're in this room where we have... we had cots. I know down in California they didn't have regular cots, they had straw stuff. We had a mattress. And we didn't have any money. A lot of 'em came in with money because they had a business, and we just didn't have any. I don't know how we got by. I mean, we had food, we're eating there, but it was, to me, I was so bitter. It just really burned up inside of me, I guess, and I didn't have any friends there. My sisters did, and my younger ones, they'd find somebody, and I was out of school so I had no school contacts. They were going to, they set up school, so they had friends in there. And so I was just, I'd follow my sister around. And then I got this fellow, came around, and he showed a little interest in this poor little girl here, and he started coming around. And so I was friends with him, and it made it sort of nice for me. I still see him to this day, we'd just sort of smile at each other, we play golf up in Seattle, he says, "Hey, Yone." [Laughs] And it's nice. We've gone our ways.

But other than that, we'd do our laundry by hand. Everybody's lined up, clean people, always washing, and the toilets were terrible. They were just open stalls, and it was really hard. You know, you feel sorry for the older people. Not so much yourself, but all the old ladies, they were maybe fifty, sixty, eighty, seventy on up, it's just so, they're such a private kind of people, the Japanese are, and showers and everything, and it was, I think really difficult on them. And yet, they survive it. And the food, you line up for the food or you sit, and the family becomes disarrayed because the kids start eating with their friends, and the family unit's just gone. You eat whoever, with whatever you want. Unless you're a strong parents saying, "You must eat with us," but I don't think that happened. And the food was just something else. I ate food that I never ate before, but it's all right. It's wartime.

<End Segment 12> - Copyright © 2003 Oregon Nikkei Endowment and Densho. All Rights Reserved.